4 best Minnesota Vikings first-round picks of the last decade

(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Harrison Smith
(Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images) Harrison Smith /
4 of 5
Minnesota Vikings
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) Xavier Rhodes /

Xavier Rhodes – CB (2013)

It’s hard to fathom after these last two seasons, but there was a time when Xavier Rhodes was arguably the best cornerback in the NFL and easily one of the Vikings best first-round choices of the last decade.

Minnesota grabbed this big, lanky defender with their second of three first-round picks in 2013. He got on the field pretty quickly, starting six games during his rookie season.

He followed that up by starting all 16 games in 2014 and by his third year, he became a corner no opposing team would throw the ball near. Rhodes was the definition of a lockdown cornerback.

The Vikings would just put him on their opponent’s top receiver and he would shut them down. Rhodes had the size at 6-foot-1 in addition to his solid technique and long arms. It was nearly impossible for teams to complete a pass in his direction during his prime.

For how good he was, his fall came just as quickly and completely. Starting in 2018, something was just off with Rhodes. He did suffer some minor injuries, but he was no longer the shutdown corner he once was.

Things got worse in 2019 when he began getting targeted heavily and opposing quarterbacks ended up having a completion rate of 81.5 percent when they threw the ball in Rhodes’ direction. His tackling also fell off the map and his frustration was evident with his angry outbursts on the field and on the sidelines.

Rhodes was cut by the Vikings this offseason and he recently signed with the Indianapolis Colts. While he was downright horrible the last few years, fans need to remember the stretch of seasons where he was one of the best cornerbacks in the league and easily one of the Vikings’ best first-round choices of the last 10 years.